History

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Filled with a fascinating background, Ontario can easily please anyone who is enthusiastic about the past. Ontario’s history began with the Oregon Trail in the mid-19th century, when travelers passed through the area from the east as they searched for a better life. Many voyagers sought the region for its mild climate, aiming to claim their own land.

In the 1840s, married settlers became eligible for free land, which was ideal for their families. In addition, Oregon was spared of several diseases common in the east during this time. Due to this advantage, Oregon was deemed perfect by travelers far and wide. As such, successful travelers would become part of the future success seen in Ontario.

In 1883, the Oregon Short Line Railroad completed its tracks through the Ontario area. As a result, a depot and inn were developed; ultimately leading to increased settlement. Ontario became a cattle town, with the railroad as a central component of its main industry. This still holds true to this very day, as the city is home to multiple businesses deeply rooted in agriculture.

Situated on the northeastern tip of Malheur County, Ontario is the county’s largest city. Recent improvements, such as man-made reservoirs, have boosted the growth of business and industry in the area.